TOKYO--Dragon Quest is one of the most popular series in Japan, so people were excited to see a new Dragon Quest IX trailer. At the Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix had a large screen on one end of its rather large area dedicated to showing off new trailers. Dragon Quest IX for the Nintendo DS looks great on the dual screen, so we were disappointed that it was not playable, but we did thoroughly enjoy the new trailer.
The trailer began with a young boy running with a dog by his side. At this point, it doesn't seem very obvious that the game will be on the Nintendo DS. Bright white feathers fall from the sky, and the trailer cuts to a young man in armor running toward the inside of a cave to face a fearsome dragon. Before he reaches the dragon, a female magic user is by his side casting what we can only guess is some kind of enhancement spell before he charges head-on into the beast.
The cel-shaded artwork looks very much like the previous Dragon Quest game, and we got a closer look at the happy, bustling town of Dragon Quest IX. The four adventurers that we saw were dressed in some elaborate outfits complete with head gear. What stood out was that one of the girls had a gypsylike outfit on, and the trailer showed that you were able to change the character's outfit via the touch screen. There seemed to be a good variety of items to go through as well, so there's going to be a little bit of dress-up, which is a first. We watched as the group headed toward a temple, and then we got our first glimpse of the slime. It just wouldn't be a proper Dragon Quest without the permanently smiling tear-drop shaped monster.
Unlike the recent rerelease of Dragon Quest IV on the DS, the battle seems to be more involved where you can actually see your team members cast spells and attack. We watched in wonder as some of them pulled out some fancy lightning spells. As the trailer ended, we saw an oddly shaped fruit that seems to be the focus of the game. The fruit was returned to a glowing tree that was nestled in a dense and most probably sacred forest. Dragon Quest IX will be released in March 2009 in Japan, and we hope that it will eventually make its way to North America.